County Down ‘Lifeline’ Addict Clinic Reopens

An addiction centre in County Down which was closed in August will reopen within weeks after moves to resolve health and safety issues.

Staff at the Cuan Mhuire addiction unit in Newry had been told new residents could not be admitted.

However, it will now be able to provide a limited service while a new facility is built.

Sinn Fein Councillor Pat McGinn, who said the unit had helped him put his life back together, welcomed the move.

“What we hope to do in the interim is have a hostel-type accommodation that can cater for much reduced levels of people who are homeless, or in danger of becoming homeless, due to alcohol or any substance abuse or addiction,” he said.

The alcohol and drug addiction centre was due to close permanently within weeks due to ageing buildings and the building of a new motorway section.

However, the health and social development ministers met on Monday to discuss how services at Cuan Mhuire could be resumed.

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie said: “I am very aware of the important work carried out at Cuan Mhuire and the dedication of the staff who work there.

“The re-establishment of safe services at the centre must be at the core of any action plan.”

Health Minster Michael McGimpsey said he had held “useful discussions” with Mrs Ritchie.

“Cuan Mhuire has provided treatment and care for vulnerable people over many years.

“I know from my recent visit that the facility is held in high regard by all those who have used the service as well as the local community.”

Details of the action plan are expected to be put to the management board of Cuan Mhuire on Tuesday.